Penticton Fire Department disaster dog Sammy and handler Fire Chief Larry Watkinson are working with Burnaby Fire Department firefighters and the USAR team heading to the Bahamas to help with rescue efforts. (Photo courtesy of Mike Biden/Penticton Fire Department)

Penticton fire chief and dog Sammy head to Bahamas in wake of Hurricane Dorian

Penticton fire chief joins Burnaby firefighters to help communities in the Bahamas

Penticton Fire Chief Larry Watkinson, along with disaster recovery dog Sammy, has joined a team of Burnaby firefighters to be boots on the ground help for communities in the Bahamas ravaged by Hurricane Dorian.

Penticton’s Deputy Fire Chief Chris Forster said Watkinson sent the department an update that he arrived on Sunday and they will be put straight to work for the next few days.

“He is part of the Burnaby team from his time when he was the Fire Chief in Mission. He continued to be part of that team when he joined the Penticton department, so when a deployment comes up he goes,” said Forster. “It is one of his passions to help others and that extends into his professional life here so when something comes up he goes.”

The hurricane that caused massive destruction on the Virgin Islands, Bahamas and North Carolina, hit eastern Canada on Sunday. Watkinson will deployed to the Bahamas for one week.

READ MORE: Crews in Maritimes work to restore power, clear debris left in Dorian’s wake

Forster said the fire chief was last deployed internationally in 2015 after a 7.8 earthquake hit Nepal, killing over 9,000 people.

“We are are really proud of him and the work he does,” said Forster.

Dorian, so far, has caused the most destruction in the Bahamas. According to the Associated Press, when Dorian struck the Bahamas last week it was as a Category 5 hurricane with 295 kilometre per hour winds and obliterated thousands of homes.

READ MORE: ‘Please pray for our Bahamasland’ Canadian victim wrote before Dorian hit

The government said at least 43 people have died due to the storm and is believed to have caused five deaths in the U.S. Southeast and one in Puerto Rico.

More on this to come.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


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